No doubt, 22-year-old Chloe Bailey and her sister Halle Bailey, 20, have taken the entertainment industry by storm. After signing with Parkwood Entertainment and becoming proteges of Queen B. herself, they have become four-time Grammy nominees, displayed their acting skills on “Grown-ish” and released the hit album they wrote and produced: “Ungodly Hour.” With their constant slaying in every way, it was only a matter of time before they blew up.
Recently, they branched off from their joint Instagram account, creating separate Instagram profiles to define themselves even more. But in doing so, we learned that Chloe x Halle is trying to distinguish themselves in industry and society that only permits a certain image for Black women.
At first, it was all fun and games — Chloe began showcasing her sexuality with her viral #BussItChallenge and sensual dance videos. Then, her followers skyrocketed, and so did the comments on her body.
But, in an Instagram live, Chloe broke down crying, saying, “It’s really hard for me to think of myself as a sexual being or an attractive being quite frankly,” she said, “so when I see all the uproar about my posts and stuff, I’m a bit confused. Like I really don’t understand because I’ve never seen myself in that way or in that light.”
I don’t post what I post for validation from anybody.Said Chloe Bailey
It is one thing to hype women up, but where is the line between hype and hyper-sexualization? When the conversation and demand for Chloe’s body became so overwhelming that it made her cry, has the line been crossed? Yes.
We have gotten so comfortable with talking about women’s bodies as some type of product. At first glance, comments and extra attention do not seem like an issue — aren’t people just showing love to a historically disenfranchised group? But genuine appreciation is a compliment without being compared to a food such as chocolate. It is also realizing that Black women are not just sex symbols.
There is an obsession with Black women’s bodies. Why was Chloe rewarded with heaps of attention and appreciation only after she posted her #BussItChallenge and sexy pictures? Why not after she posted about her new music collab with 6lack? When we look at Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, Normani, Nicki Minaj, etc., they empower and conquer with their sexuality. But, they all advocate that they are more than their bodies. With Black artists — Black women — they are too often put into a box where they can only gain attention in the industry if they portray one kind of image. The truth is, body positivity seems to have a complicated nature for Black women when society and industries use their bodies for profit.
If Chloe wants to post sexy content, she should — it makes her feel powerful and confident. But a reminder: just because she’s owning her power and capitalizing on her own sexuality, doesn’t give anyone the right to objectify her or box her in. She has so much more to offer.
In her Livestream, she said, “It’s so important and so special when a Black woman can be strong and stand in her power in every single way.” So, let’s let them. You can acknowledge someone’s sexuality while being thoughtful. Go ahead, appreciate her body — but better yet, do so while appreciating every other power and prowess she holds.